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Mt. Oscar: Who's scaling the golden slopes and who's sliding

January 06, 2011

Mt. Oscar: To scale the heights of the Oscars — to reach the precarious pinnacle of that golden O — wrap yourself in raves and pack lots of buzz. This week's altitude readings are by Elena Howe, Susan King and Kenneth Turan.

PEAKING

OH, BABY: Natalie Portman is considered among the lead actress front-runners for her role in "Black Swan." She's also now pregnant and engaged to ballet star Benjamin Millepied, whom she met while working on the film. Talk about a life-changing role.

CLIMBING

COEN GORE: While "True Grit" stays very faithful to the Charles Portis novel, there are the occasional uniquely Coen moments — as when Texas Ranger La Boeuf nearly bites off his tongue and Rooster Cogburn offers to rip out the bloody dangling portion.

THE GOOD FIGHT: For what may be her scrappiest role yet, Amy Adams has earned a supporting actress nomination from the Golden Globes and the Screen Actors Guild for "The Fighter." Oscar, don't be afraid to jump on that bandwagon.

AT BASE CAMP

BLOODY PROUD: The marketing team behind "127 Hours," at which some audience members have been seen to faint, are embracing the film's graphic elements, including sending out badge-of-honor T-shirts that proudly proclaim, "I kept my eyes open for 127 Hours."

RUFFLING FEATHERS: Darren Aronofsky's "Black Swan" is gaining award momentum and is almost certain to surpass the 1942 Tyrone Power swashbuckler "The Black Swan," which received three Oscar nominations and won the cinematography prize.

LOOKING FOR A SHERPA

DOUBLE-TAKE: It has been reported that actor Michael Cera had been considered for the Sean Parker role in "The Social Network" before Justin Timberlake landed it. With Jesse Eisenberg in the lead, that would have been like seeing double for entire chunks of the movie.

BAD TEASE: We here at The Envelope understand the Golden Globes' desire to pack in the A-listers, so, sure, stellar veteran cast of "Reds," come on down! And Johnny and Angelina? You bet! But "Burlesque"? Really?

LEO IN LIMBO: The Globes' embrace of "Inception" helps push that mind-bending film into more solid Oscar consideration — it had been, in many prognosticators' minds, a bit of a question mark. But the Globes showed no love for star Leonardo DiCaprio, likely closing that door with the academy.

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